5 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Rolling Out New Software

software adoption tips
Integrating new business software requires extra care
Forming new habits in your team can be difficult, and adapting new business software most certainly needs forming some new habit. The new awesome collaboration software you’ve found seems to solve half of your problems but as many have experienced, team members are slow to get behind new tools. So two weeks into new deployment it may very well be that you are the only person still using the new shiny software. What went wrong?

Assuming you picked the right software and that some level of training was provided, it’s probably a combination of the following five things. Teams, their motivation and software varies, but as a sales trainer and later as a software entrepreneur I’ve seen these thing pop up time and time again. All of them relate to how the idea of using a new piece of software was introduced to team members.

Here’s how to avoid the common mistakes:

1. Announce your intentions.
What you are trying to achieve with this new piece of software? Most managers think it is obvious, especially when the team is small. But if even long-time couples misinterpret each other’s intentions, it’s more than likely the same happens in teams. For example when a new CRM software is picked it is not rare for sales people to think that it is implemented to track and control them, while all the manager wanted was for the sales guys to not call the same clients twice in the same day.

2. Decide and announce when and how often team members should ideally use the new tool.
Do you expect the software to be up to date every evening, once week or in time for a specific meeting? If you are not clear about your expectations, each team member will choose their own time for catching up with the tool, and it will never be properly up to date. And of course, the more regularly the tool is used, the better quality is the data in it.

3. Be clear that using the new software is not optional.
It’s one of those ‘all or nothing’ things. It takes just one person not filling in one’s activities to make others think that it’s okay to skip a day or two. And this behavior spreads like wildfire. Remember, we’re talking about forming a habit, so especially in the first weeks you need to be very clear about what you want people to do. Also, giving feedback immediately helps. Mind that people are extremely good at reading how serious you are about executing the change and that there is no “going back”.

4. Share the information available from the software.
One thing most salespeople find really frustrating is being asked to do something which doesn’t seem to have a clear output (for themselves). The more you share available reports online or even better if pasted on a wall, the more proof you provide that what you ask people to do is necessary.

5. Agree on the exact date when ‘launch’ happens.
It’s usually a good idea to have a trial period for people so everyone can familiarize themselves with the new tool. But if you don’t agree on a specific date, then some team members might want to wait until the last possible moment while early adopters notice that they’re the only “fools”, and they may decide to stop.

So again, deploying a new piece of software is essentially about forming new habits and the process should be treated accordingly. It requires everyone, but especially the leader, to make a conscious effort to get to using software as if on autopilot. They say that the ‘runway’ for creating a new habit is at least 30 days long – make sure to execute the best of your leadership during that period.

About the Author: Urmas Purde, co-founder of Pipedrive CRM

Urmas Purde is co-founder of Pipedrive CRM. Urmas has more than a decade’s worth of experience in increasing productivity of (sales) teams, previously as a trainer and now as an entrepreneur.